Task Force on Institutional and Organisational Development


The FIG Task Force on Institutional and Organisational Development was set up in late 2006 to focus FIG’s efforts in the vital area of building sustainable institutions, and its Terms of Reference were approved by the 2007 General Assembly.

Terms of reference 

(Endorsed by the General Assembly 13 May 2007)
Terms of Reference as a .pdf-file

1. Background

Land administration systems are concerned with the social, legal, economic and technical framework within which land managers and administrators must operate 1). These systems support efficient land markets and are, at the same time, concerned with the administration of land as a natural resource to ensure its sustainable development. However, in many developing and transition countries, there is a lack of institutional and organisational capacity to undertake land administration action activities in an adequate and sustainable way. Some of this may flow from institutional and organisational structures and remits; other parts may flow from inappropriate systems that the organisations are required to administer. These latter elements also need consideration in determining appropriate frameworks for sustainability.

1) Land here is used in a broad sense, including the necessary activities to survey waterways and oceans, recognising the key role that such features play in sustainable development.

A key component of capacity building is therefore to ensure that a country’s organisations are sufficiently robust to develop, enable and ensure the effective operation of surveying and land administration activities. The relevant organisations include the professional surveying associations (the FIG member associations) and private surveying companies, as well as government agencies such as the mapping organisations, hydrographic survey organisations and the organisations with land registration and land administration responsibilities. Given the pivotal role of secure ownership of and access to land in underpinning nation building and economic development, it is vital that appropriate, sustainable structures are in place. Capacity building and development are required to ensure this in many countries.

2. What the Task Force can contribute

Different countries have different levels of development of land registration, administration and management systems. The surveying and mapping profession therefore needs to develop appropriate, contextualised and practical approaches. Within this general approach, the key questions that the Task Force will need to address, for each type of organisation (professional survey associations, private sector firms, public sector bodies) include:

  • Where are the key barriers to effectively functioning institutions and organisations? (These blockages could be systemic, financial, skills-based, structural,…)

  • Who are the key influencers who can help to remove the barriers?

  • What key materials are needed to remove the barriers?

  • Which types of organisation are most affected and therefore most in need of the Task Force’s early attention?

From analysis of the answers to these questions, the Task Force will be able to develop and refine its work programme, including the most appropriate types of outputs. These outputs will be developed to meet the needs identified by the Task Force, and to dovetail with other related work. Without prejudging the development of the work programme, possible activities and outputs include:

  • Running workshops to assist managers to determine the key challenges in the development of their organisations to meet national needs, and to give them the tools and confidence to respond to those challenges;
  • Creating best practice guides on, for instance: implementing organisational development; managing technical change; sourcing funding for investment; and effectively creating networks across and between relevant organisations;
  • Making links between those who are willing and able to travel to developing countries to support their organisations in their development activity, the developing country’s organisations, and possible sources of funding.

FIG is well-placed to play a key role, given that it brings together leading professionals from every continent and has already completed a range of work impacting organisational and institutional development. This includes publications on constituting professional associations (Number 16), as well as work on land administration, including the Bathurst Declaration (Number 13). The Task Force will bring together a number of key individuals, supported by links within and beyond FIG, to give a focus to the key task of institutional and organisational development to allow the effective management and administration of land. The Task Force will therefore deliver, by 2010, key components in the 2007-2010 FIG theme of "Building the Capacity".

3. Work of the Task Force

The Task Force’s activity is likely to encompass a number of phases. These are set out in brief below, but this plan will be further developed as the Task Force begins and continues its work.

(1) Assess needs

This phase is likely to involve the members of the Task Force using their own experience to draft a ‘requirements catalogue’ which will then, during events such as the FIG Working Week 2007 and the Cambridge Conference (to be held in July 2007), be tested on relevant experts and organisations and subsequently adjusted.

(2) Determine how best to meet the needs

In the period from mid-2007 to the FIG Working Week in 2008, the Task Force is likely to focus on creating a prioritised response to the agreed needs in the different types of organisation. This may include:

  • guidance material on good practice

  • workshops

  • direct support mechanisms

The Task Force will also determine the practicality of delivering the responses, and how time and funding might be made available. All of this work will be collated into a mid-term report to the 2008 FIG Working Week, by which stage it should have been exposed to comment by experts identified during Phase 1.

(3) Deliver the required outputs

The period 2008-2010 will focus on delivering the agreed, required outputs from the Task Force, using the members of the Task Force and other experts identified during Phases 1 and 2.

(4) Produce a final report

The Task Force will prepare a final report for the FIG Congress 2010. This will include a formal report to the General Assembly, as well as a consolidated version of all relevant material created in Phases 1, 2 and 3.

4. Key linkages

FIG has a wide range of links on which the Task Force could usefully draw. Additional linkages will be provided through members of the Task Force. Links are likely to include:

  • World Bank – coordinating with FIG’s efforts to build closer links with the World Bank, and recognising that a key requirement of many of the Bank’s projects is for there to be stable and sustainable institutions;

  • UN Agencies – FIG has strong links with many UN Agencies, and their work will also be supported by the presence of strong institutions in developing countries. They may therefore be able and willing to provide a range of support to the Task Force;

  • GSDI Association – the Association has discussed the issue of organisational and institutional development in recent meetings (including at its Chile meeting in November 2006), and is currently exploring the possibility of developing a portal which will include a knowledge database, a commitment database and an equipment database. The best links between the GSDI and FIG work will need to be discussed and agreed;

  • EuroGeographics – this is the association of European National Mapping and Cadastral Agencies. They will be willing to offer support, for example in expertise, to facilitate the building of strong peer organisations, particularly in Eastern Europe and some parts of Asia;

  • Cambridge Conference – this quadrennial event began in 1928 as the Empire Survey Officers’ Conference. It has over the decades evolved into a conference of heads of national mapping agencies, brought together at St John’s College, Cambridge. It therefore provides a very appropriate gathering at which to highlight the work of the Task Force, and to test its developing work;

  • International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) – the Organisation has a worldwide remit and therefore contributes significantly in the development of national hydrographic organisations. FIG and IHO have a joint International Advisory Board, along with ICA.

Appropriate links will also be developed with regional bodies.

Internally, the Task Force can gain by working with FIG’s Commissions, particularly:

  • Commission 1 (management and ethics are part of its portfolio)

  • Commission 2 (provision of the necessary professional training and support)

  • Commission 3 (national mapping agencies form one of the cores of the commission)

  • Commission 4 (hydrographic agencies are relevant to the work of the Task Force)

  • Commission 7 (cadastral agencies are a vital underpinning to much of the commission’s work) – including the proposed Working Group 7.2 to consider the creation of an FIG humanitarian arm, Surveyors without Frontiers

Commissions 8, 9 and 10 are also pertinent to the Task Force, and appropriate links will be maintained with them.

4. Task Force membership

The Task Force will operate with a core membership, which will be complemented by a wider group, which will provide support as it is able, and review the developing work of the Task Force. The wider support group will be assembled during the early Phases of the Task Force, and is likely to include people drawn from the relevant bodies highlighted in section 3 above.

The core membership of the Task Force will be as follows:

Iain Greenway – Chair
United Kingdom
Chief Executive of a National Mapping Agency
Santiago Borrero Mutis
Secretary General, Instituto Panamericano de Geografia e Historia (IPGH), with significant experience as a senior manager in surveying organisations in developing countries; a former chair and current Board member of the GSDI Association
Adam Greenland
New Zealand
Senior hydrographic manager in a national mapping/cadastral/ hydrographic Agency; ex-Chair of Commission 4
Teo Chee Hai
Past President, the Institution of Surveyors Malaysia; Past Secretary General, ASEAN Federation of Land Surveying and Geomatics. Chartered & Licensed Surveyors
John Parker
Former Surveyor General; ex-Chair of Commission 1
Richard Wonnacott
South Africa
Senior Manager of a Mapping Agency
Francisco Delfini
Spike Boydell
Professor of Built Enviroment, School of Built Environment, University of Technology Sydney; ex-Vice Chair of Commission 8

Additional members will be appointed as necessary.

5. Task Force working arrangements

The Task Force will meet whenever a critical mass of members is present at the same event. This will include FIG Working Weeks, and some of the other events highlighted in Section 3. The Task Force’s workplan will be developed (during the first half of 2007) in such a way that the bulk of the work can proceed via email or teleconferences, probably with sub-groups of the members working on different elements. It is recognised that all members of the Task Force are volunteers, doing the work in addition to their other paid and unpaid duties. The volume, pace and sharing of the Task Force’s work will reflect the other priorities that members have.

Iain Greenway
28 February 2007

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